By Guy Gregory
MCDC Communications Specialist
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has awarded the Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) a $16,500 technical assistance grant. This grant enables MCDC to effectively assist young, community-based grocery cooperatives operating across north central and northeast Montana and to create a training support network for their general managers. The start-up and fledgling co-ops that will receive this assistance include:
Neihart Store Cooperative – On June 4, 2018, the Neihart Inconvenience Store was purchased by a member-owned cooperative, and it is now operating under new management. The co-op has more than 135 member-owners and is governed by a seven-member board of directors elected by the membership. Thanks to the CCHD grant, MCDC will be able to assist co-op staff and leadership with management decision making and training to enhance their business operations.
Red Paint Creek Trading Post & Pantry in Lodge Pole – Red Paint Creek’s board of directors and general manager contacted MCDC for technical assistance in launching their official co-op membership campaign, which will be conducted on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and guided by Tribal statutes. The grocery store, gas pumps, food pantry and commercial kitchen are housed in one facility, which is now open for business after celebrating its grand opening on June 11th.
Marie, Montana – Great Northern Development Corporation (GNDC) and MCDC are supporting community leaders who would like to form a grocery store cooperative in St. Marie. As envisioned, the co-op would serve more than 500 residents of this unincorporated town located on what was once the Glasgow Air Force Base. The CCHD grant will support specialized legal and financial research during the co-op’s deliberation phase that GNDC is guiding from its headquarters in Wolf Point.
Montana Rural Co-op Managers’ Network – The CCHD grant includes travel funds that will enable rural grocery co-op managers to meet regularly for training and to address shared challenges in operating their stores. In addition to the co-op stores listed above, co-op stores benefiting from this network will be Fresh Start Cooperative in Geraldine and Big Flat Market in Turner.
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